Simple Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Served over Rice with Roasted Cabbage.
Chuck roast is cooked low and slow in a rich marinara-based BBQ sauce then served with crispy roasted cabbage, tender rice, and plenty of sauce. This dish is all sorts of simple, warm, and comforting.
Let’s talk beef.
When cooking any kind of beef low and slow, you want to start with a tough cut. Those cuts of beef that would be like chewing on leather if you threw them on the grill to cook fast over high heat – that’s what you want for things like Pot Roast, Tuscan Braised Beef, Short Ribs, or Slow Cooker BBQ Beef.
Good choices for any beef recipe that requires long, slow cooking are brisket, rump roast, or bottom round roast. But, my favorite is chuck roast. Chuck roast is considerably cheaper than brisket. Also, there are two different cuts of brisket – one that’s dry and super lean and another that’s more fatty. Since brisket is best cooked low and slow, the fattier cut is preferable. Unfortunately, the fattier cut of brisket is also fairly difficult to find, while chuck roast is readily available at pretty much any supermarket.
Rump or bottom round roast will also work for this dish, but have a similar problem to lean cuts of brisket – they are on the lean side. When cooking beef for a long time at a low temperature, cuts that contain a relatively high percentage of collagen and fat – like Chuck Roast! – are more desirable. The long cooking time melts the collagen and fat, tenderizing the meat while it cooks.
Marinara Sauce is the perfect, simple base for Slow Cooker BBQ Beef.
Before I tell you that your favorite super market marinara sauce will work perfectly well in this dish, let me put in a small plug for the homemade variety. There is nothing better than a big pot of homemade marinara sauce simmering away on the stovetop, making your house smell all warm and comforting and like you’ve been cooking all day, when in reality great marinara sauce only takes about 15 minutes of hands-on time.
The secret is to let it simmer away on the stovetop for a couple of hours, which makes it smell like you’ve been slaving away over a hot stove even thought you totally haven’t. I won’t tell.
I like to make a big batch of marinara about every 6 weeks or so, dividing it into portions and storing it in the freezer. Having it on hand means a quick plate of spaghetti marinara is always only about 15 minutes away. But, also, marinara is the starting point for all sorts of yummy dishes, such as…
- Indian Shrimp and Rice
- Eggplant and/or Chicken Parmesan
- Homemade Pizza
- Meatball Sandwiches
- Homemade Meatballs and Marinara
And, of course, Slow Cooker BBQ Beef.
If you don’t have any homemade marinara on hand but still want to use it to make BBQ Beef, just get it going early in the day, or plan ahead and make it a day or two before. BBQ Beef takes about 5-6 hours in the slow cooker (on high), so if you got the marinara sauce cooking by around 9 or 10 am, you’ll have more than enough time.
Use Roasted Cabbage – Or swap it out for a different veggie.
Roasted cabbage is something that gets made a lot at my house for 2 reasons: It takes about 5-minutes of hands-on work, and, if you’re a cabbage lover like me, is crazy-good. I particularly like it with BBQ Beef, but if you’re not a cabbage fan or simply have other veggies you want to use instead, I think pretty much any vegetable would be good in these bowls – roasted or sautéed.
BBQ Beef makes great leftovers.
BBQ Beef is one of those dishes to consider doubling just for the leftovers. It’s great to have in the freezer, just hanging out and waiting to be reheated for a quick sandwich supper – or, of course, rice and veggie bowls.
Used in this Recipe:
Meal Plans that Include Slow Cooker BBQ Beef, Rice and Veggie Bowls:Print
For the Slow Cooker BBQ Beef:
- 4 lb chuck roast
- Salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 cups marinara sauce – homemade or from a jar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
For the Roasted Cabbage and Rice:
- 1 small red or green cabbage
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups long-grain rice
To make the Slow Cooker BBQ Beef:
- Cut the roast crosswise into 4 pieces, lay them out onto paper towels and pat dry. Sprinkle each piece with a generous amount of salt and pepper on both sides.
- In a large heavy bottom saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat until almost smoking. Add the beef to the pan and let it cook for 2-3 minutes, until a nice brown crust has formed on the bottom. Turn the pieces of beef over and let brown on the other side. Remove the beef to the bowl of a slow cooker.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions is soft and just beginning to brown. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute longer.
- Add the marinara sauce, water, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to a boil, then pour this mixture over the beef in the bowl of the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
- When the meat is very tender, remove it from the slow cooker to a plate or cutting board. Pour the sauce into a large saucepan and set it over medium high heat. Bring the sauce to a boil and let cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half – you should have approximately 3 cups of sauce. (*The sauce has a tendency to splatter while cooking so use a large saucepan and be cautious when stirring.)
- Shred the meat and stir it into the sauce.
To Make the Rice and Cabbage:
- Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Trim the bottom and core from the cabbage. Cut the cabbage in half, crosswise. Then cut each half into three thick slices, for a total of six slices. Lay the cabbage slices in a 9×13 baking dish; it’s ok if they overlap a bit.
- Melt the butter in the microwave in a small dish. Stir the olive oil into the butter. With a pastry brush or a spoon, brush the cabbage with the butter and oil. Sprinkle each slice generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast until the edges of the cabbage slices are brown and crispy, about 35-40 minutes.
- While the cabbage roasts, follow the package instructions to cook the rice.
To serve: Divide rice between 4 bowls. Top with cabbage then spoonfuls of saucy BBQ beef.